Chicago Tribune, November 4, 2015
by Community Contributor Ann Fink
CSO principal second violin Baird Dodge joins New Philharmonic (NP), under the baton of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, for “Baird and Berlioz” concerts at the MAC Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m.
The concerts open with Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto, No. 1 in G minor, Op 26.” Muspratt will then present one of his popular Classical Bootcamps, sharing background and insights into Hector Beloiz’s “Symphonie fantastique.” A performance of “Symphonie fantastique Op. 14 ” opens the second half of the concert. Berlioz’s Rakoczy March from “La Damination de Faust” a side by side performance with students from Naperville North High School, orchestra director Dana Green, completes the program.
“Last year audiences were treated to the sounds of violinist David Taylor, assistant concertmaster of the CSO and now we’re thrilled to have Baird join us for these concerts,” says NP music director/conductor Maestro Muspratt. “Baird’s command of the violin is remarkable, and when applied to the remarkable compositions of Bruch and Berlioz, in association with the skilled musicians of NP, our audiences will be in for an amazing concert experience.”
German born composer/conductor Max Bruch (1838-1920) wrote more than 200 works, however the first of his three violin concertos, “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor,” was his most popular and has become a staple of the violin repertoire.
French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz’s (1803 -1869) “Symphonie fantastique” was composed to tell the story of an artist gifted with a lively imagination who poisons himself with opium while in a deep despair because of hopeless love. “Symphonie fantastique” was featured in the films “The Shining,” “Sleeping with the Enemy.”
Berlioz’s “Rakoczy March,” sometimes known as the “Hungarian March,” was the unofficial state anthem of Hungary before Ferenc Kolcsey wrote “Himnusz, the currant official national anthem of Hungary. Berlioz included the music for “Rakoszy March” in his “La Damnation de Faust.”
New York City native Baird Dodge studied violin and viola from an early age and attended the precollege division of the Juilliard School. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990, and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York-Stony Brook in 1994. Dodge joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a violist in 1996. He moved to the second violin section later that same year, and he was appointed principal second violin by Daniel Barenboim in 2002. An avid chamber musician, Dodge has collaborated with such artists as Daniel Barenboim, Isadore Cohen, Ida Kavafian, Samuel Rhodes, David Sawyer and Pinchas Zukerman, and he also has appeared as a guest artist on several occasions with the Chicago and Colorado string quartets.
Naperville North High School’s Symphonic Orchestra is for string students selected by previous performance as a member of Concert/Chamber Orchestra or by private audition for transfer students. Class work includes individual work on both technical skills and overall musicianship with emphasis on developing leadership skills for the string musician. Symphonic Orchestra combines with the top musicians of Symphonic Band to form the full sized Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra performs many concerts each year including both string orchestra concerts and Symphony Orchestra concerts. All performances, while outside of school hours, are considered part of the course requirements and attendance is required. Opportunity is also given students to perform in small ensembles, as soloists, and as members of the pit orchestra for the musical.
New Philharmonic is a fully professional orchestra in residence of the MAC that has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for nearly four decades. Under the direction of Conductor and Music Director Kirk Muspratt, named a 2006 Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, the group gives innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works and strives to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts.
New Philharmonic is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation through its New Philharmonic Fund. Established as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit charitable organization in 1967, the College of DuPage Foundation raises monetary and in-kind gifts to increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community. For more information about the College of DuPage Foundation and the New Philharmonic Fund, visit.cod.edu/foundation or call 630.942.2462.
New Philharmonic (NP), under the direction of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, presents “Baird and Berlioz” at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $49 for adults; $47 for seniors and youth age 18 and under. A limited number of $10 student tickets will also be available, with valid student ID. To order tickets or for more information, call 630.942.4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org